Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor

More info »

Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor


More bang for your buck!

Several steps closer to "Great!"ness

It seems like only last week I was previewing Lost Empire: Immortals and wailing on about how all space empire games seem to be derived from the same template.

I can't say that anymore.

Stardock has been labouring away at a second expansion to Galactic Civilizations II: Dread Lords. The first expansion, GC2: Dark Avatar, did a pretty good job of upgrading the graphics and it added several colourful twists upon the original concept. The ship design component was - and still is, the class leader of custom ship design. The space combat was made spiffier, too, with an almost TiVo-like playback feature that allowed you to watch your ships getting trashed repeatedly, from numerous angles, just so you can be sure of witnessing every gory detail. A number of elements, such as asteroids, were added, along with several new Research items and Planetary Improvements. However, when all was said and done, it was still GC.

This time around with GC: Twilight of the Arnor, Stardock is going beyond the usual couple of upgrades and tweaks. This time they are introducing some overhauls that are guaranteed to seriously alter the yardstick that space empire games are judged by.

In our last episode...

Galactic Civilizations II has an ongoing campaign thread - and that thread is dark and sinister. It starts with GC2: Dread Lords. In the far dim past, there had been a Precursor civilization. The Precursors splintered into two factions: the Arnor peaceniks, and the Dread Lords, bent on enslaving the universe. Civil war ensued. Just as the DLs were closing in on the last Arnor planet, poof, all of the Precursors disappeared to who-knows-where. In their vacuum, ten major races emerged, each fanning out to form their own little empires. One of those, the evil Dregnin empire, has an evil plot to conquer the galaxy and enslave all of the non-Dregnins. Did I mention that the Dregnin race is Evil Incarnate? They seem to think of themselves as the natural heirs to the Dread Lords. In the first game, the Dregnin are on the rise. And if you think the Dregnin are bad news, dont forget those Dread Lords, lurking... somewhere.

In GC2: Dark Avatar, the Dregnin have come to dominate the galaxy. They may not actually own 100% of the real estate, but enough to qualify as the Big Man On Campus, er, Big Race In The Galaxy. Having come to dominate the galaxy, the Dregnin race finds itself in the throes of a philosophical quandary: Is it enough to just enslave the inferior races, or are they morally required to cleanse the galaxy of all that non-Dregnin filth? The segment of Dregnin society bent on exterminating the inferior races that infest the galaxy are led by a faction known as the Korath. If The Powers That Be in the Dregnin cant do what needs to be done, then the Korath will be forced to take matters into their own grasping appendage. The balance of the Dregnin must therefore actually defend their current and future slaves by fending off the onslaught of the Korath. Hence the name, Dark Avatar.

Now in the Dregnin-dominated galaxy where GC2: Twilight of the Arnor begins, a wandering Terran refugee discovers the last of the Arnor - along with all that Precursor power capable of holding off the Dread Lords and poof everybody to who-knows-where just as the defences collapsed. Lots of know-how, some equipment, but war material adequate to pull the spatial carpet out from under the Dregnin somewhat lacking. But with some intelligent investments in manpower and resources, the potential is there. However, the REAL threat to the galaxy is the Dark Lords, operating from their own pocket universe. Where theyve had several millennia to stockpile a LOT of warships, etc. The Arnor reveals that the Dark Lord Achilles Heel is that all their power rests on the utilization of one particular resource, scattered around the galaxy. All that is needed is to destroy all those resource centres. Piece of cake. All that is required is to set off a supernova nearby - which is where the Terror Stars will become indispensable to the task.